NEW DELHI: The Congress is likely to seek explanation from former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who may face action after MLAs owing allegiance to him rebelled against the party's decision to back Independent R K Anand in the Rajya Sabha election in the state.
Sources said the party was shocked by the behaviour of the 14 MLAs who apparently got their votes invalid by marking the ballot with a wrong pen and would go into the entire issue and fix responsibility.
For the record, AICC General Secretary B K Hariprasad in-charge of Haryana said, "We have sought a report from the PCC and the Independent candidate and we are going to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission about the way the election was conducted."
He also saw prima facie a conspiracy from the government's side and said the party will find out the truth. "We will fight it politically and legally."
Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid termed Anand's defeat by BJP-backed media baron and Independent candidate Subhash Chandra as a setback and disappointing and said it needs to be found out what really happened.
"It is certainly disappointing. What really went wrong needs to be found out. I am sure the general secretary concerned will look into the reasons of invalidity of the Congress votes," he said.
Congress spokesman R P N Singh accused the Modi government of using money and muscle power to win these elections.
"This Modi government is trying to throttle democracy exactly in the same manner what they did in Uttarakhand, what they did in Arunachal Pradesh and we see that happening again today," he said.
The defeat of Anand came as a bolt from the blue for the Congress and its high command, which was confident that its strategy to trounce Chandra would succeed.
Only yesterday, the Congress Legislature Party at its meeting had authorised party chief Sonia Gandhi to decide on who to vote for and she had directed voting in favour of Anand.
A senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, said it appeared a clear case of sabotage as one of the ballots was seen to be blank, while 12 others were marked by a wrong writing instrument.
Hooda, who had been at the helm of the state as Congress chief minister for 10 years, was apparently feeling uneasy ever since Ashok Tanwar was made state party chief by Rahul Gandhi.
He was reportedly pitching for the party abstaining from voting in favour of a candidate supported by INLD, a traditional arch rival of the Congress in the state.
At yesterday's CLP meeting, Hooda and the dozen-odd MLAs supporting him, had arrived late.